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Sarara-sama was chatting with Kaburagi-papa. I’ll bet it was some crazy hardcore book discussion. Would I be bothering them?
As I hesitated, Chairman Kaburagi noticed me first.
“Good evening, Reika-san. My wife and her friends were looking forward to seeing you, you know?”
“Good evening. Thank you for giving me the chance to see such beautiful cherry blossoms. The beauty of the weeping sakura was incredible.”
“It honours us that you enjoyed it.”
His smile was as dignified and dreamy as always. How nice. If I had a man like this as my dad I’d show him off everywhere.
Sarara-sama also welcomed me with a smile. I was still worried about disturbing them though. She seemed to be having so much fun.
“Am I perhaps interrupting? Please pay me no heed and continue talking.”
“Not at all, Reika-san. I was just telling her about how I found a rare book in Germany the other day.”
Germany!? Don’t tell me it was Kaburagi-papa who suggested Heine to him!?
“…Might it have been a Heine?”
“No? It wasn’t. Are you partial to Heine, Reika-san?”
“No,” I immediately replied.
I wonder if he wouldn’t take responsibility as a father and take his son’s love poem anthology back.
“It looks like Takateru-kun isn’t attending today.”
“Yes. My brother was simply too busy at work, unfortunately. We are terribly sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. Words of how impressive he is at work reached me too. Anyhow, just having you here is enough, Reika-san.”
Hauu, what a dazzling smile.
“Chairman Kisshouin and your older brother have been hiding you away like a treasure, so I don’t often get a chance you meet you.”
“I hear you really get along with your Otousama. The other day you knitted a lap blanket for your beloved Otousama, right?”
I never said beloved anything, Tanuki! It looks like you haven’t learnt your lesson if you’re still going around exaggerating things. You’ll learn when I get home, just you wait.
“I heard that when you were little you said you’d marry him when you got older. Ahh, how envious.”
Haah!? Not only was he unsatisfied with exaggerating things, this time he was even telling full-blown lies!?
Oniisama might be a different story, but not once had I ever said I wanted to marry Otousama! It’s lies and slander!
Was it that? Was Otousama going senile!?
“Reika-san,” said Sarara-sama, “You were a fathercon?”
“This is some incredible misunderstanding, Sarara-sama. I have no recollection of saying such a thing.”
Even after I tried my best to deny it, Kaburagi-papa simply nodded magnanimously.
“Ahh, puberty, of course. I suppose I must apologise. But you should know that your Otousama understands how you feel. Ahh, how nice. I wish I had a daughter that loved me that much.”
But you’re wrong! I’m offended that you think my ideal husband would be that chubby tanuki!
I mean, if my dad had been somebody like Kaburagi-papa then maybe I would have said that. But unfortunately my father was just a big-bellied tanuki.
“You know, Chairman Kisshouin sometimes complains about how closely you stick to him, but everyone can tell he’s happy about it.”
That lyingg tanukiii!!
I searched the venue for the tanuki. Lying tanuki get to be made into tanuki stew!!
It felt like I would just take more damage by staying there so I excused myself.
I had to do something about this reputation as a fathercon… My pride depended on this.
I spent the next while wandering the venue as I gazed at the cherry blossoms.
There was food all around that seemed delicious enough, but I still didn’t have the appetite.
I had technically eaten the Swiss roll Oniisama gave me as a get-well gift, but… I guess my stomach wasn’t up to full speed.
Drinking so much was going to mean a lot of trips to the bathroom. And I was cold too. Maybe a warm drink would help. They had probably run out of hot chocolate, so I tentatively decided on milk tea. Oh! They had jasmine milk tea.
Finding myself a seat, I was enjoying my milk tea when some guy stopped next to me.
“Good evening, Reika-san.”
Who was this again? Oh crap, I couldn’t remember. He was… about Oniisama’s age? And cool-looking in a Japanese kind of way. Slender, light-skinned, almond-shaped eyes, hobby is probably traditional Japanese flute? You know the type. He looked really good in his kimono.
He seemed kind though… Seriously though, who was this!?
“I’m Ichinokura Haruto. I think this is our first time speaking. I hope we’ll get along.”
“My! It is a pleasure to meet you. Kisshouin Reika, at your service.”
What the heck. So this is the first time we’ve met? Thank goodness. I was so worried about how to fake remembering him.
“May I sit down?”
“Why yes, go ahead.”
So Ichinokura-san sat down next to me. He had champagne with him. Definitely over 20 then.
“I’ve actually come here to thank you, Reika-san.”
Huh. Didn’t he just say this was our first meeting?
“My niece was in your care, actually. Sawarabi Mao, from Zui’ran’s primary school section.”
Sawarabi Mao-chan was the little girl I met at the Pivoine Summer Party. The one who rang the bell with the boy. When I went to give her the photos she was so happy, and she called me Reika-oneesama and everything. That girl was just so cute!
“You know, Mao was telling everybody about how the wonderful Reika-oneesama was really good to her, and even told me the story a few times. You encouraged them while they were hesitating to ring the bell, right? Thank you for that. That girl was so happy that she hung up the photo you took in her room and won’t stop showing it off to people.”
“I see. I did very little but if Mao-chan was so happy about it then I am happy too. And truth be told, I was overjoyed to be called Reika-oneesama. Especially by somebody as cute as your niece.”
“Thank you. It was my first time having a niece so I might have spoilt her a bit. Before I knew it I was buying her everything she wanted.”
Ichinokura-san’s smile was extremely gentle whenever he spoke of his niece.
Maybe because of all the “distinctive” people around me, somebody tranquil like Ichinokura-san was really soothing to be around.
The two of us continued to chat about Mao-chan and life at Zui’ran. Ichinokura-san went to a famous boys school instead of Zui’ran so he was interested in hearing my opinions on Mao-chan’s school.
“By the way, Reika-san, have you eaten at all? You haven’t been doing anything except drinking. Should I get you some food?”
Mmmm… I don’t think it would fit.
“No, but thank you kindly.”
“Really? Have you already eaten then?”
“No. I suppose I have not eaten since coming here.”
Ichinokura-san looked at me in shock. Apparently it was past 8 already.
“Did you have dinner before coming here?”
“Reika-san,” he started seriously, “Reika-san, are you really eating properly? You shouldn’t skip your meals. You look so delicate you’re about to snap.”
About to snap? Eh!? Me!? About to snap!?
‘You’re about to snap’ is one of the top ten things a girl wants to be told once in her life! (Source: The Reika Rankings)
You look like you’re about to snap… You look like you’re about to snap… You look like you’re about to snap…
Aahh… Ichinokura-san’s words were echoing endlessly in my head.
“About to snap…? I assure you that I am fine. I most assuredly enjoy all three meals a day, you know?”
“Really? You’re not lying?” he shot a half-suspicious look at me before offering again.
“What if I got you some fruit? Should I bring some?”
“No, I really am fine. I do not eat much…”
“Yeah, I can tell. But you really do need to eat properly, okay?”
“Yes. Thank you for your concern.”
Ichinokura-san gave a troubled smile.
“You’re really dainty, Reika-san, so I can’t help but worry.”
‘You’re so dainty’ is one of the top five things a girl wants to be told once in her life! (Source: The Reika Rankings)
You’re really dainty, Reika-san… You’re really dainty, Reika-san… You’re really dainty, Reika-san…
Aaah, I must be dreaming… I’m so glad I came today!
I was so happy that it felt like I’d grow wings and fly! Just “snap” and “dainty” were enough fuel to send me into the stratosphere!
And also Ichinokura-san had treated me from beginning to end like some fragile and delicate princess. “Are you cold?” he’d ask. “Are you tired?” he’d ask.
Thinking about it, he might have been the first person to ever treat me this way. …Guhuhu, I’m so happy.
Oh no, I think I might really fall for him…
Kisshouin Reika, 16 years of age. May have found a new love.
Celebrate with me!